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Planning a wedding? Stressful. Writing a thesis for your Master’s Degree? Very stressful. Being a parent? Crazy, out of this world, off the charts stressful. From helicopter moms to free range moms, breast or bottle moms, Type A moms to Hipster moms-parenting styles may not be in sync, but they do have one thing in common. Stress. So what’s causing all of this Mom Stress?
Here’s an idea. Let’s take two complete strangers (whose only thing in common is that their kids are the same age) make them hang out and endure awkward small talk while they watch their kids play and silently countdown the seconds until it’s acceptable to figure out a reason to leave. Pair that with the fact that you have no clue if the kids are going to be singing Kumbaya or duking it out Hunger Games style. That’s just a recipe for stress. A Stressicpe! Yeah, I went there.
Feeding Your Kids
At a minimum you are responsible for your kids’ three basic needs: food, shelter and clothing. The stress begins the first few hours after you pop out your kid. Will she latch?! Is he getting enough? Then they start experimenting with pureed food that they either love, throw at you or respond with a face that looks like you just gave them a bowl of dog poop. Then bring on the solid “people” food where you spend half the mealtime cutting food into tiny pieces and the other half worrying that your kid will choke on those tiny pieces. Next, comes the wonderful phase when they can totally feed themselves but deem everything “icky.” Followed by the phase where they’ll only eat three things. And there’s that phase when they won’t STOP eating and you can’t keep up. Of course, there will probably be some phase where they decide to be a vegetarian, a pescatarian, a freaking cereal-etarian. Spoiler alert, when it comes to feeding your kids, there will always be a phase. And it will never be fun.
I blame Pinterest for this one. Back in the day, it was simple. A costume and a pumpkin for Halloween. A tree and some red and green decorations for Christmas. Candy and a couple of hidden eggs for Easter. Not overly challenging, holiday prep was no biggie. But now, God help us, it’s like each and EVERY holiday takes two weeks of planning, $452 of craft supplies and a whole lot of magic (aka countless extra tasks for moms). Super elaborate Elf on the Shelf tableaus, amazingly intricate, practically professionally constructed Valentine’s mailboxes, Leprechaun traps for St. Patrick’s day?! Seriously, where does it end?
Remember when you were pregnant and you signed up for every single weekly pregnancy update email you could find? Yeah, me too. Then you have your baby and never unsubscribe and still receive 30 weekly updates with headlines like “7 things your baby MUST be doing by 12 months.” Then you click on the link and then freak out that your child has their own development timeline and isn’t deemed “on track.” Stresssssful. Look, I get it, it is important to make sure your child is hitting certain developmental goals and getting them the proper help if they need it. But, come on, how about a little wiggle room on these mandatory “milestones.”
Bedtime is one of those things that looks so nice in the movies. Wrapping a happy, freshly bathed child in a fluffy towel, snuggling up and reading their favorite fairy tale and finally kissing them on the forehead while they gently drift to sleep with a smile on their face. Sometimes (in movies) the bedtime routine is so truly magical that parents need to tip-toe into their sleeping child’s room just to get one more look. And that’s exactly how bedtime happens…in the universe where money grows on trees, pigs fly and an all-carbs all-the-time diet exists. Here on earth, not so much. In reality, bathtime involves 18 “required” bath toys and soaking wet floors. Story time takes approximately 90 minutes, seven books and a zillion questions. And going into my kid’s room once I FINALLY get them to sleep? I would rather walk on hot coals while juggling and listening to “the song that never ends” on repeat.
Being a “Good” Mom
So here’s a fun topic. I need to take a deep breath, sip some wine and clip on my Buzzies before I even get started on this one. It used to be simple to be considered a good mom. If you loved your kids and took care of their basic needs, you were deemed a good mom. These days it’s not so simple. Soooo much is expected of modern day moms that the qualities that made you a good mom 50 years ago are considered just the bare minimum in our society. Sure you love, feed and bathe your kids, BUT…have you started teaching them French? Did you triple check and make sure that their lunch is all natural, non-GMO, organic, and perfectly well rounded? Have you become a childhood sleep expert to ensure you selected the correct bedtime? Are the toys your kid is playing with appropriate for their blood type and zodiac sign?? The standards that society and we as moms hold ourselves to is INSANE. Some nights I keep myself up with thoughts of motherhood mediocrity whirling through my brain. Enough is enough. Being a “good” mom is easy. Just love your kids with everything you have and there you have it, you’re a good mom.
What’s that word that means a spotlessly clean house that kids live in? Oh yeah, there is no word for it because it’s not something that exists. It’s not like my house is never clean. It is, for about 48 seconds until it begins the descent towards crumb, clutter and chaos again. Here’s the thing, trying to keep your house spic and span when you have little kids is like standing in the middle of a thunderstorm and trying not to get wet. Not happening. Do what you can to make sure your house doesn’t look like it should be on an episode of Hoarders, but realize that until your kids are out of the house, crumbs are inevitable, laundry will be piled up and don’t be surprised if you find tiny plastic toys hidden between your sheets.
Screwing Your Kid Up
Magazines aren’t the only thing that’s got a lot of issues. Parents got ‘em too! Try as you may to avoid it, there will be countless times that you worry that your own issues are going to screw up your kids. You can spend your life stressing that your issues and not so great decisions will have some detrimental lifelong effect on your child. Guess what? They probably will. But you know what else will have a lifelong effect on your kid? All the good things you do, all the positive traits they inherited and the amazing gems of parental wisdom that you will pass along. So just chill, it will all even out.
Stress has pretty much become synonymous with motherhood. There’s really no way around it, but there are ways to cope. Have that glass of wine, do the 90-minute yoga class, grab your Buzzies or even marathon three seasons of that Netflix show you’ve been dying to see. Just try to take a second to breathe and remember, you’re NOT the only one who sometimes wonders if you’re too old to run away. Mom stress is so real that now even neuroscience is stepping up to help moms. Buzzies, the innovative lifestyle wearable device, uses non-invasive BLAST technology to help reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep and control cravings and anger. Check it out at their website or on Facebook or Instagram.
This post has been sponsored by Buzzies but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
When Luvs asked me to #sharetheluv and choose a parent to spoil in the month of February, I was stoked. Since my mom helps out so much with my kids, an overly dramatic 5 year old and a “strong willed” 18 month old, I knew she was the perfect person to show some “luv” to. So, from one experienced mom to another even more experienced mom, I gifted the things that every mom needs in her arsenal.
Target Gift Card: Let’s be honest. Target is like the mecca for moms. There’s something about seeing those red and khaki uniforms that just puts a girl at ease. From the warm greeting of the worthless junk in the dollar section, to the glorious accessories section, the seasonal items and everything in between, it’s just all around amazing. It’s something about the mix of the bright fluorescent lights, the shiny floor tiles and the omnipresent red bullseye, it’s like Xanax in a big-box store form.
Dry Shampoo: When you have kids, washing your hair falls down, like way down on the daily list of to dos. Who needs clean hair when you are literally responsible for every aspect of keeping tiny humans alive? That’s where dry shampoo comes in. I’m sure it’s terrible for the environment and is made of questionable ingredients that I can’t pronounce. But you know what it’s great for? A mom’s sanity.
Wine: We KNOW, we get it, moms love wine. After a long day of butt wiping, food cutting and tantrum diffusing, there’s nothing like a little mommy juice to take the edge off. For some it’s wine, for some it’s trashy books, for others it’s a bubble bath. It doesn’t really matter what it is, but moms deserve SOME no fail, stress reducing go-to at the end of a rough tear filled, crumb covered, million-question-asked day.
BlowDry Bar: There comes a day in every woman’s week when her dry shampoo just can’t cut it any longer (I’ve gotten up to 6 days…be amazed, be grossed out, it’s up to you). I don’t care where you’re from or who you are, I don’t know a mom out there that doesn’t feel a little better with freshly washed hair and a beautiful blowout. Having it done by a professional? Surrounded by gossip mags and free champagne? Bring on the tears of joy.
Black Leggings: Because, duh. But, seriously black leggings are the a gift from the angels for any mom. Slimming? Check. Stain Hiding? Check. Versatile? Double Check. Comfortable? Triple Check. Could you really even ask for anything more?
Awesome Diapers: Constantly having to change diapers gets annoying. Constantly having to change sub par quality diapers is just flat out unacceptable. Moms don’t let other moms use crappy diapers(pun intended).
Experienced parents have each others back and are always eager to share their “tricks of the trade”. Like using Luvs, the official diaper of experienced parents. Large stretch tabs, softer and more absorbent than ever before and ultra leak protection. You can #sharetheluv with the parents in your life too. Luvs is offering a great money-saving opportunity with a $1 print-at- home Coupon. Visit http://www.coupons.com/brands/luvs-coupons/ to access a Luvs coupon of $1 off any one diaper pack.
I feel so well rested.
Wine? No thanks.
School drop off is so quick and stress free.
I think I’ll buy all white furniture.
I have a different bra for every day of the week.
Maternity clothes are strictly for pregnancy.
Do you guys want to join me at Target?
One more bedtime story? How about FIVE more??!
My house is SO clean.
Kids’ birthday parties are awesome.
Nahh, let’s just skip naptime.
Caillou? I love that little guy.
My car is so clean.
I just don’t like yoga pants.
My laundry is all washed, folded and put away.
No, I’ll pass on coffee, I don’t think I need it.
I only feed my kid healthy well balanced meals.
My boobs are totally they same as they used to be.
I really don’t mind the sound of whining.
I have so much free time.
I kind of like changing diapers, you totally get used to the smell.
My home is 100% booger free.
I NEVER compare myself to other moms.
School projects are fun!
I just feel like I have every under control.
This is the current state of my laundry room. A complete and total disaster. It makes me sad and ashamed and frustrated. But this is the dirty, messy, embarrassing REALITY of parenting. The underbelly of motherhood that everyone tries to hide. For you it might not be laundry. Maybe it’s the fact that you fed your kids McDonald’s every night this week. Or maybe that you’ve been too exhausted to read a bedtime story in a month. You forgot to sign the homework sheet…again. You sent your kid to school in a winter coat from 3 years ago. You lost your temper and yelled at your kids. Your toddler has words in his vocabulary that would need to be bleeped out on network tv. You’re wearing the same pair of black leggings for the 3rd day in a row. It doesn’t matter what it is. We all have our “dirty little parenting secrets” that we don’t feel comfortable exposing. Because we are afraid. Afraid to admit that parents have no clue what they are doing a large portion of the time. Afraid we are the only ones. Afraid to be judged. Afraid that or shortcomings will make us “bad” moms. Screw being afraid. The fact of the matter is that EVERY mom has something they’d rather not share. But by constantly hiding it and trying to appear perfect you lose the chance to see that you’re NOT the only one. Sometimes when you admit your shortcomings, when you wear your cracks with pride, you realize that we are all flawed in some way, but just because you are flawed doesn’t make you “bad”, it make you human. A messy laundry room/too much screen time/occasional junk food/being late to school drop off/bribing your kids/losing your temper isn’t bad parenting, it’s real life. Parenting is never simple and straightforward. Motherhood is messy, unpredictable and chaotic. So why fight it? Just go with the flow. Enjoy the craziness and try not to get smothered by a laundry avalanche.
Let’s facing it, parenting can be e
xhausting, frustrating, soul sucking…challenging. It is so easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life that it is hard to stay in the moment and appreciate the amazing “little things”. Part of the reason I love this time of year is that it allows me to hone in on what I am thankful for, what I truly value.
Drive Thru Coffee: It’s the age old love story. Woman has a baby. Woman becomes a mother and gets no sleep. New mom meets coffee and develops an intense infatuation. Moms around the world are not shy about proclaiming their
addiction love for the ever appealing caffeinated bean. Nothing is sweeter than the first moment that glorious brew hits your lips. Except when it doesn’t even require you getting out of the car to get your fix. I cannot count the number of times I have groggily pulled through my local Starbucks drive thru with a whiny kid and screaming toddler in the back of my car. Thank you, brilliant coffee store builders for realizing that mom’s need their beloved coffee even more when it is impossible to get out of the car.
Trashy Reality TV: Exhaustion. Diapers. Laundry. Homework. Cooking for people who throw my food on the floor and refuse to eat. That’s my reality. Cat fights, lavish vacations and expensive champagne. That’s the kind of reality that I will stay up way too late to watch. Nothing eases the pain of an unexpected Crayola mural on freshly painted walls quite like mindless and oh so entertaining trash TV.
Dry Shampoo: Once upon a time I washed and styled my hair every day. When I got a little older and the responsibilities grew it changed to every other day and then every three days. Then I had kids and it became every…I plead the fifth. Just as I was about to surrender to being a greasy- haired, ponytail-dependent mother, I discovered dry shampoo. It’s like a hug it a can, for your hair.
Screen time: Research says that children who spend time in front of a screen….blah, blah, blah. Do those researchers have two screaming children pulling at their leg and destroying the house while they conduct their studies? I think not. I applaud the parents who can get through life without ever handing over their iPhone or getting some breathing room without using Disney Jr. as a babysitter. But for the rest of us mere mortals, sometimes screen time is necessary so we don’t lose it and put OUR head through a screen.
Showing Me Who I Am: I have lived a pretty full life so far. I have had many ups and downs, many highs and lows. I have learned things along the way, but nothing has even come close to teaching me as much as motherhood has. Being a parent is hard. Like, climbing Mount Everest x achieving world peace + mastering Mandarin + not eating carbs for the rest of your life=a fraction of the difficulty of being a mom. But through all the sleepless nights, ridiculous arguments, tantrums(from both me and the kids), and sometimes overwhelming responsibility of figuring out how to raise a human, I have changed and grown and become who I am. I am a mom. A tough, resilient, coffee drinking, dry shampoo using, trash tv watching, screen time providing mom. And there is NOTHING I am more grateful for than that.
LUVs understands all the trials and tribulations that come along with motherhood and they are here to help. Did you know that 2 out of 3 mothers have never taken a day completely for themselves? Or that a whopping 87% of moms agree that the night their child first slept through the night was one of their “best parenting times”. That’s crazy! Parenting is hard, but diapering doesn’t have to be. LUVs diapers are not only affordable, but dependable. Softer and more absorbent than ever, ultra leak protection and a money back guarantee, LUVs easily fall into any parent’s #WhatULUV category. And in an effort to make you even more thankful, LUVs is giving away a money saving print at home coupon.
Join @iconnect and @Luvs for the #WhatULuv twitter party(11/29 9-10pm EST) to tell us what you truly value as a parent.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Scary movies, candy, seasonal pumpkin beer… what’s not to like? Another reason that I love Halloween is looking at all of the crazy costumes. I think Halloween is a great time for parents to play the extremely judgmental and oh-so-entertaining game of “Spot The Ridiculously Inappropriate and Offensive Costume”.
Here’s how it works:
1) Go Trick or Treating with your awesome kids who are dressed in their adorable, fantastic, age appropriate costumes
2) Look around at the other kids and parents and begin reviewing their costumes.
3) Feel guilty about judging for about 30 seconds.
4) Bask in the glory that you’re not the parent who dressed their 2 year old old up as a hooker.
5) Repeat steps 1-4
It’s never to early to teach your little girl what to wear if she wants to get paid for having sex. The movie was call “Pretty Woman” not “Pretty Toddler”.
Well, that’s one way to teach kids not to text and drive.
Not cute no matter what age you are.
The child may be at risk of getting smothered by his giant costume, but hey, at least they put him on his back to sleep.
This is one shitty costume.
For some reason I don’t think the “Beer Pong Table” will be featured in the 4th grade Halloween parade.
Diapers and Fishnets will always have you wind up on the fashion DON’T list.
Reduce, reuse, recycle??
The parents obviously didn’t think this through….how is he going to hold his candy bag?!
Don’t worry, it’s legal in his state.
Is it just me or does this kid look WAY too excited to be dressed up as a suicide bomber?!
Hmmmm, that’s the same face I had when I saw this costume.
I’ve heard of stuffing a bra, but stuffing a onesie?!
I think it’s a little late for that.
BONUS: Worst PARENT Halloween Costume
Which one do YOU think is the worst??
There are certain events that you just know are going to change your life forever. Starting a new job, getting married, giving birth and…potty training your toddler. There will be ups, there will be downs, but one thing is for sure: The road to the potty ain’t an easy one.
You’re Going to Think it’s Way Easier Than it Actually is
“Potty Training”, sounds kind of cute doesn’t it? Something that cute has got to be pretty simple, right? A few days of asking if your kid has, “got to go potty”. A couple of minutes sitting on the bathroom floor waiting, maybe buying a pack of pull ups for the long nights or Kandoo Wipes to teach them the importance of wiping up themselves. That might be accurate somewhere in Perfect Parent La La Land, where kids eat what is made for them and go to bed at 7:00pm sharp. But here in the real world, potty training is pretty crappy. Literally.
You’ll Spend Just As Much As You Save
One of the best parts of potty training is the idea of never having to spend money on diapers again. Loosely calculated 10 diapers a day x 1 baby minus the stress of running out to the 24 hour Walmart at 2 am = a very happy parent with tons of extra cash. What will you do with all of that extra money? Buy a new wardrobe? Go on a romantic getaway? Treat yourself to an indulgent spa day? Yeah right. You will use that money to bribe your child to poop on a miniature toilet. What starts as one M&M turns into a new set of Legos and then a shiny new tricycle, a pony, a trip to Disney World. NEVER underestimate the lengths you’ll go to bribe your child to use the potty.
Your Kid Will Think Everything Is a Toilet
Do you know what’s exactly like a toilet? Nothing. Nothing is exactly like a toilet. Well, try explaining that to a not totally potty trained 2 year old. They might get the overall gist of the whole “going in the toilet” thing. But they may not completely grasp the “toilet only” part of the equation. To a toddler, acceptable toilet substitution may include, but is not limited to: a suitcase, a measuring cup, your brand new shoes, your great grandmother’s heirloom crystal vase, mommy’s bed (specifically when the sheets have just been changed), the dog bowl, and the expensive silk plant in the corner.
You’ll Start To Annoy Yourself
It may be the fact that you’re asking your kid if they “have to go” every 3.5 minutes. Perhaps it’s your new obsession for mapping and ranking the cleanliness of every public bathroom within a 5-mile radius. It might even be the “Pooping is fun, we wipe when we’re done” rap song that you’ve become accustomed to performing multiple times a day. Whatever it is at some point during the potty training process you will stop and think “What the hell am I doing?!”. Hopefully it’s before you’ve recorded and posted your poop rap on YouTube.
You Give a Whole New Meaning To The Term “Potty Mouth”
During the potty training process it’s like your conversation is always tuned to 99.9 POOP FM. You will find it almost impossible to go more than a few hours without the words pee pee or poo poo from exiting your mouth. For the sake of all others around you please remember that no one, I repeat NO ONE else wants to hear about how close Timmy came to going “wee wee” in the “flushie hole”.
It will take the patience of a saint, the dedication of an Olympic athlete, and maybe even a couple strong cocktails. But the time is near. It may be a long and tedious process, but it is finally time to hand over the reigns to your little one and renounce your title as designated tush wiper.
Nervous about potty training? Don’t stress! You(and your kid) “Kandoo” it! You don’t need a “Potty Fairy” to get through it. Check out the awesome stuff that the geniuses over at Kandoo created to take the stress out of potty training. You can also see what they are up to on Facebook and Instagram.
Don’t get between a mom and her coffee.
Because she was forced to read Goodnight Moon seven times for the fourth night in a row…in a French accent.
Because she slept hugging the edge of her mattress because her 3 year old insists on sleeping with her…horizontally.
Because she was kept up late worrying she’s screwing up her kids, not feeding them enough fiber and wondering how the PJ Masks kids sneak out of their house late at night.
Because she’s waking up while it’s still dark in order to make sure her kids don’t eat breakfast from a box every single morning.
Because the breakfast she got up early to make was deemed “icky” by her kids.
Because right after she gave the baby a bath and got her dressed, a major blowout occurred. With leakage.
Because she stubbed her toe, yelled “f*ck” and now it looks like that might be her baby’s first word.
Because at morning drop off she has to navigate past the School Drop Off Nazi’s, avoid the PTA moms urging her to volunteer and try to remember if she forgot her kid’s lunch all while wearing no bra and last night’s pajamas.
Because the first hour of her day has been as stressful as a hostage negotiator talking someone off a ledge.
Because she spent 30 minutes the night before arguing with her five year old about whether bugs celebrate Halloween.
Because she’s more familiar with the lyrics to Disney Jr. theme songs than anything that plays on the radio.
Because it takes everything in her to just get by when all the other moms seem to have everything running so smoothly.
Because she loves her family with every part of her soul, but wishes more than anything she could just get some time to herself.
Because this is just the beginning of her day and she still has a billion things to do.
Don’t get between a mom and her coffee…but if you do, you better make up for it by bringing her a bottle of wine.